NCAA

The 3 Biggest Obstacles on the Alabama Crimson Tide’s Schedule in 2019

Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban looks on

The Alabama Crimson Tide are the most well-oiled machine in college football. Head Coach Nick Saban has led the Crimson Tide to four straight seasons with only one loss, and two of those four losses came in the National Championship Game against the Clemson Tigers. Alabama went a perfect 13-0 before the College Football Playoffs in both 2016 and 2018.

The Crimson Tide are favored to run the table and win the SEC Championship for the fifth time in six years this season. A potential showdown against the Georgia Bulldogs or the Florida Gators in the SEC Championship Game will be a tough test for Alabama, but here are the three regular-season games that could provide some trouble before then.

3. Auburn Tigers, Jordan-Hare Stadium, November 30

Gus Malzahn hopes to give Nick Saban more trouble in 2019
Gus Malzahn hopes to give Nick Saban more trouble in 2019 | Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Since the start of the 2013 season, the Alabama Crimson Tide are 72-4 across 76 non-bowl games. The Auburn Tigers are responsible for two of those four losses, defeating the Crimson Tide at home in both 2013 and 2017.

The annual game between these two hated rivals is called the Iron Bowl, and the home team is 6-1 in the last seven Iron Bowl showdowns. Auburn doesn’t project out to be a real contender in 2019, but a strong defensive line and rabid home-field advantage could make this one a tough out for the Crimson Tide.

2. Texas A&M Aggies, Kyle Field, October 12

The Texas A&M Aggies had their best overall record (9-4) since 2013 and their best conference record (5-3) since 2012 last season in Jimbo Fisher’s first year as the program’s head coach. And while a 45-23 loss on the road to Alabama may not look that impressive at first glance, but the Crimson Tide won the other 11 games on their regular-season schedule by an average of 36.5 points per game.

Quarterback Kellen Mond has another year of experience under his belt, and the wide receiving corps and defensive line both look great on paper. If Mond is at his best, College Station could be in for a competitive matchup.

1. LSU Tigers, Bryant-Denny Stadium, November 9

Ed Ogeron is looking for his first win against the Crimson Tide
Ed Ogeron is looking for his first win against the Crimson Tide | Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Ohio State quarterback transfer Joe Burrow looked great in his first year with the LSU Tigers last season despite the fact that it was his first season as a starter and his first season in Steve Ensminger’s offensive scheme. With a full season of experience under his belt and an offseason to get even more familiar with the offense, there’s reason to believe Burrow could take a big step forward in 2019.

LSU’s secondary projects out to be one of the best in the nation with safety Grant Delpit leading the way. While the Tigers lost some key talent on the defense in Devin White and Greedy Williams this offseason, they return eight starters to a unit that should be one of the best in the country.

Alabama is virtually unbeatable at home, so an upset in this one is far from likely. But this will be the most talented team that the Crimson Tide face during the regular season, and if Burrow reaches his potential this season, Alabama will need a four-quarter effort to prevail.